Andhra minister’s brother protests against transport authorities

July 28th, 2008 - 4:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, July 28 (IANS) The crackdown by transport authorities in Andhra Pradesh on private bus operators violating rules has evoked strong protest from the brother of a minister. J.C. Prabhakar Reddy, a private bus operator and brother of minister K.C. Diwakar Reddy, and his followers staged a sit-in at the office of the Road Transport Authority (RTA) here Monday to protest “attempts by certain officials to target” the travel company owned by him.

He warned that the harassment of bus operators could drive them to suicide. “I am being portrayed as a cheat though I am paying taxes on time and abiding by the law,” he said and claimed that his brother, despite being a minister, was feeling helpless.

Diwakar Reddy is a cabinet minister for panchayat raj and is considered a close aide of Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.

“Since Mr Rajasekhara Reddy came to power, suicides by farmers and weavers have come down but now the bus operators may commit suicide,” said Prabhakar Reddy, himself a Congress leader and vice-chairman of Tadipatri in Anantapur district.

Prabhakar Reddy alleged that few officials were targeting only the buses run by Diwakar Travels, a travel company owned by him.

The officials, however, denied this and said they were only trying to enforce the law. They said a case was booked against 12 bus operators for carrying commercial luggage.

“We are not asking them not to drive. Drive buses safely but don’t carry commercial luggage.

“Motor vehicle inspectors can stop vehicles as per the law. The licensee, big or small, has to stop the vehicle and follow the law,” said road transport commissioner Raymond Peter.

“This (carrying of commercial luggage) has been happening for a long time. We are now trying to discipline them and this has upset some people,” he said.

The officials later called Prabhakar Reddy for talks to sort out the issue.

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